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New Guide Focuses on the “S” in “ESG”

Much of the real estate industry focus on environmental, social and governance efforts leans toward the first—environmental. But social and governance play an important role in ESG efforts.

In a move toward pinpointing social well-being and efforts, Fitwel introduced its “Guide to Measuring ‘S’,” which pinpoints strategies to “quantify ESG from a people perspective.” This has led to five measurable health-impacting strategies: location, operations and performance, amenities, design, and programming and evaluation.

These areas rely on multiple measures, including the following:

  • Location: average walk score, average bike score, average transit score, number of properties in flood/fire hazard zones
  • Operations and Performance: Percentage of assets meeting indoor air and water quality levels, ratio of first responders to total occupants
  • Amenities: Fresh produce availability, percentage of square space dedicated to physical activity, acrage of outdoor green space, ratio of lactation stations to occupants
  • Design: Percentage of accessible spaces, percentage of occupants with asset to daylight and/or nature views, average number of annual reported noise complaints
  • Programming and Evaluation: tenant satisfaction/net promoter score, average number of programs offered annually and participation rate

“Investing in health has never been more paramount. It took about ten years to create a consensus around defining the metrics in the environmental pillar of ESG, and now, there is growing demand for reliable metrics to quantify the Social pillar,” said Joanna Frank in a release. Frank, is President and CEO of Active Design Advisors, Inc., and CfAD, the operators of Fitwel.

According to information from Fitwel, the metrics are based on more than a century of public health research. The identified measures are also supported by additional reports including Fitwel’s Health Drives Value for Real Estate.

To help put the “S” Guide into practice, Fitwel also released the “Fitwel-GRESB Crosswalk for Workplace and Multifamily Scorecards.” This tool compares Fitwel strategies to the GRESB Real Estate Assessment, real estate’s leading ESG framework.


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